For someone that barely made it through originally, Sabrina surprises me with a very nice and sultry version of I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, yet another Aretha Franklin song. She totally owns it, and it’s one we don’t have another Idol performer to compare to. And, Leslie, this is how you do Aretha. Randy says they finally have a competition for season 6. He tells Sabrina that’s the way to put it down and that’s the way to sing, and declares her the one to beat. Paula’s happy to have a Valley Girl standing in front of her and gives her a standing ovation, as well as a “way to go.” Simon says they take a lot of crap (not his exact words, but I couldn’t understand what he said) for criticizing singers at this point in the competition, but Sabrina proved the point of taking part and genuinely having a desire to win with a performance. He calls it the best so far out of everything they’ve seen. Sabrina tells Ryan afterwards she intentionally went with an upbeat song to stay away from ballads. This is after watching the show for years, and doing her homework, and realizing the ballad wouldn’t be a good move.
Antonella Barba, a student, made it to final 24, without her best friend, Amanda. She calls Hollywood week very stressful, mostly because of a lack of sleep. It really ran down her voice, to the point of losing it on the last day, and her confidence level was way down. She was excited to make it, but really upset Amanda didn’t. Her journey has been a roller coaster, and she really hopes this gives her the opportunity she’s never had before.
Aerosmith’s I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing is the wrong choice for Antonella. It’s not just pitchy, there’s horrifying notes in this song. She’s trying to do things with it that she doesn’t know how to do. She tells Randy she thinks he’s going to say he could see her nerves a little bit, but instead he keeps it real, and says it wasn’t good and was real pitchy and bland. Paula says it may not have been great, but it wasn’t bad. Yes, it was, Paula. She notes Antonella’s pitch problems and says she’s an amazingly beautiful girl. Next, Paula will start talking shoes. It’s all about song selection, and she picked songs earlier that suited her a little bit better, but she didn’t do badly. Yes, she did, Paula.
Simon has good and bad news for Antonella. The good news is that she is attractive, and the bad news is that it didn’t work and was way, way, way too big for her. He believes it seriously damaged her chances of remaining there another week. Antonella appears shocked, and tries to recover, asking what she can do better. Simon tells her she’s a young girl with a pop voice and should be choosing pop tunes, not something that’s too big for her, saying the Aerosmith song ate her up. Ryan asks Antonella if she realized the song was such a risk when she picked it, and she says she did, but she was willing to take the risk, because she thought she could do it. She’s forgetting the modesty she walked into auditions with. Simon compares this all to being like Ryan doing the news, and Ryan says she was better than that.
Jordin Sparks feels that in some ways her young age, 17, is an advantage, because if her journey ends here, she will still have a lot of time to do what she wants to do, yet, it’s also a disadvantage because Simon and Randy always tell people they’re so young and have a lot of time. Jordin wants it now. As for her original feedback from Simon calling her sugary sweet, she’s not sure if she’s changed it that much, but feels it may be minus a lump or two. She wouldn’t want him to change his opinion, as he’s usually right with what he says. Jordin just wants Simon to se her as herself, and she doesn’t care if she makes a fool of herself, as that’s her.
Although it usually doesn’t work when younger people sing the older songs, Tracy Chapman’s Gimme One Reason really works on Jordin. She seems to gain in her confidence with it as she sings, and it’s anything but sugary sweet. Randy tells her that she has that big voice and some of the best natural talent up there, but she needs to pick songs she can challenge herself with. While normally they tell people they’re picking songs that are too big for them, he doesn’t know of any song that is too big for Jordin. Paula says the good thing is she’s already starting to go there with the big songs. She was a little tentative at first, but came into it, and she wants Jordin to just go for it.
Simon says they’ve seen a big change with Jordin, as the first time they saw her, she was typically sweet, but she actually has a very good voice. For 17, she’s choosing songs that are a bit younger, but he thinks if she pushes herself, she may surprise a few people in the competition. Ryan asks where her confidence comes from, and Justin says she doesn’t know, making Ryan believe she was probably just born to be in the spotlight. While she towers over him, Ryan says again this year, he’s short and small. Jordin is a tall girl with an even bigger voice.
Nicole Tranquillo is a 20-year old voice major which she figures has helped her a lot in Idol. duh. She’s a person that thrives on being really, really busy and getting no sleep. Group night was the best night for her, and they worked tirelessly to get their choreography and harmonies down. She’s hoping that will show that she’s a hard worker and cares a lot about doing a good performance. Tonight she sings Stay by Chaka Khan. It’s hard to even understand her lyrics because she does too much with it between low and high tones. It’s just odd. To steal a line from Randy, it’s just weird for me.